- A psalm of Asaph. 1 God rises in the divine council, gives judgment in the midst of the gods.
- "How long will you judge unjustly and favor the cause of the wicked? Selah
- Defend the lowly and fatherless; render justice to the afflicted and needy.
- Rescue the lowly and poor; deliver them from the hand of the wicked."
- 2 The gods neither know nor understand, wandering about in darkness, and all the world's foundations shake.
- 3 I declare: "Gods though you be, offspring of the Most High all of you,
- Yet like any mortal you shall die; like any prince you shall fall."
- 4 Arise, O God, judge the earth, for yours are all the nations.
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Footnotes1 [Psalm 82] As in Psalm 58, the pagan gods are seen as subordinate divine beings to whom Israel's God had delegated oversight of the foreign countries in the beginning (Deut 32:8-9). Now God arises in the heavenly assembly (Psalm 82:1) to rebuke the unjust "gods" (Psalm 82:2-4), who are stripped of divine status and reduced in rank to mortals (Psalm 82:5-7). They are accused of misruling the earth by not upholding the poor. A short prayer for universal justice concludes the psalm (Psalm 82:8).
2 The gods are blind and unable to declare what is right. Their misrule shakes earth's foundations (cf Psalm 11:3; 75:4), which God made firm in creation (Psalm 96:10).
3 I declare: "Gods though you be": in John 10:34 Jesus uses the verse to prove that those to whom the word of God is addressed can fittingly be called "gods."
4 Judge the earth: according to Deut 32:8-9, Israel's God had originally assigned jurisdiction over the foreign nations to the subordinate deities, keeping Israel as a personal possession. Now God will directly take over the rulership of the whole world.
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